2015-2016 Academic Year

Date of Event

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 12:10 PM to 1:00 PM

Location

Mailman-Hollywood Building, Second Floor Auditorium

Description

Global energy demands are projected to double by 2050, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and solar energy has the greatest potential as the most benign, universal resource for generating electricity. However, harnessing the solar energy efficiently and converting it towards useful forms of power that are compatible with our current infrastructure remains an elusive goal. Today’s solar energy utilization relies on silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) technology, which converts photon energy to electrical energy. The efficiency of these devices remains low (< 30%) and the cost of processing silicon and installing solar panels in homes makes PV uneconomical compared to the current price of electricity. Research efforts towards developing new inorganic and organic materials for thin film PV to replace silicon are currently underway. Organic materials are particularly interesting from the standpoint of developing simple, cheap materials that can be easily tailored for future PV devices. The future of solar energy utilization relies on developing solar paints for vehicles, solar shingles for rooftops, and spray-on solar ink for small device applications, but continued fundamental research is needed for decreasing cost and improving efficiency for next generation devices.

Presenter Bio

Amy received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, then did postdoctoral work in Argonne National Laboratory (Chicago) and then in Columbia University as the Dreyfus Environmental Chemistry Fellow, before joining UM faculty.

Notes

At UM, Dr. Scott is leading a research group working on photoactive liquid crystals, artificial photosynthesis, and multiple charge and energy pathways in quantum dots-assemblies for biosensing. We ask her to specifically discuss light-harvesting materials and latest solar technologies for STEM students in this lecture. Students at all levels and in all majors are welcome.

 
Mar 16th, 12:10 PM Mar 16th, 1:00 PM

Powering the Planet: The Role Chemistry Plays in Solar Energy Technology

Mailman-Hollywood Building, Second Floor Auditorium

Global energy demands are projected to double by 2050, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and solar energy has the greatest potential as the most benign, universal resource for generating electricity. However, harnessing the solar energy efficiently and converting it towards useful forms of power that are compatible with our current infrastructure remains an elusive goal. Today’s solar energy utilization relies on silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) technology, which converts photon energy to electrical energy. The efficiency of these devices remains low (< 30%) and the cost of processing silicon and installing solar panels in homes makes PV uneconomical compared to the current price of electricity. Research efforts towards developing new inorganic and organic materials for thin film PV to replace silicon are currently underway. Organic materials are particularly interesting from the standpoint of developing simple, cheap materials that can be easily tailored for future PV devices. The future of solar energy utilization relies on developing solar paints for vehicles, solar shingles for rooftops, and spray-on solar ink for small device applications, but continued fundamental research is needed for decreasing cost and improving efficiency for next generation devices.